Ku Shen - Sophora Root

TCM Materia Medica

Ku Shen TCM Herb Classifications and Usages

The TCM herb "ku shen" which in english is Ku Shen herb"sophora root", is categorized within the "herbs that clear heat and dry dampness" functional grouping. It is thought to enter the heart, large intestine, liver, small intestine and urinary bladder channels and exhibits bitter (ku) and cold (han) taste/temperature properties.

Dosages and preparations will vary according to each individual and the overall approach of a formula, but generally this herb has the following dosage and/or preparation guidelines:

  • Dosage: 3-15g

Of many possible clinical applications, it may be considered to influence the following issues/symptoms:

  • Clears heat, dries dampness - dysentery, leukorrhea, jaundice, sores.
  • Expels wind, kills parasites, stops itching - for damp toxin skin lesions or infestations with chronic itching, seepage, and bleeding; genital itching and vaginal discharge.
  • Clears heat, promotes urination - for damp-heat in the small intestine, lin syndrome, hot edema.

Ku Shen may potentially be used, in coordination with a well tailored formula (in most cases), to influence the following conditions: dysentary, edema, itching, jaundice, leukorrhea, skin problems (rash) and/or urinary disorders (lin disease)

While it may not always be included depending on the manufacturer or herbalist making the formula, ku shen is generally included in the following 2 formulas:

ViewFu Fang Qing Dai Wan (Indigo Combo Pills)

Itching, rashes, general skin irritation especially of the type that moves around or is intermittent. Insect bites, allergic contact dermatitis, poison ivy/oak/sumac, sun burn.

ViewXiao Feng Wan (Clear Wind Pill)

Itchy and red skin lesions, possibly with weeping -psoriasis, eczema, acne, etc. Topical allergic response, dermatitis -poison ivy, oak, sumac. Acute [allergic] edema in the limbs.  

As noted above, ku shen is within the herbs that clear heat and dry dampness functional group. All the herbs in this category are listed below.

(truncated intro "... for damp-heat patterns with dysenteric disorders, urinary difficulty or pain, jaundice, furuncles, eczema. bitter and cold - clear heat and drain dampness; avoid in cases of stomach and/or spleen deficiency. often combined with herbs that…)".

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